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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A phenomenological exploration of the mother-daughter relationships during and after father-daughter incestuous abuse of the daughter Sen, Chandra


The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of the relationship between mothers and their incestuously abused daughters. The research sample consisted of five adult daughters who in their childhood and/or adolescence, were abused by their biological fathers. The volunteer participants were in therapy at the time of the research interviews. The study employed a phenomenological method in order to allow the daughters to describe their experiences and perceptions of their mothers. By engaging in a dialogue with the daughters, the researcher attempted to explore the dynamics and impact of the mother-daughter relationships on the daughters. Results confirmed that these mother-daughter relationships were damaged. However, the daughters also expressed strong desires to heal their relationships with their mothers. In addition, the daughters identified important connections between their relationships with their mothers and the continued influence of this relationship on their experience of themselves in their current lives. The findings of this study have important research and therapeutic implications. The research findings strongly suggest that the relationship between daughters and their mothers in families where father-daughter incest occurs needs to be examined beyond individual family member's roles which have been the exclusive focus of existing research. Furthermore, the strong connections made by the participants of the present study between their relationships with their mothers and their sense of self, may be an important consideration in therapeutic work with this client population.

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